wyedean School

Aspire together, Achieve together
Adfecere pariter, Perfecere pariter

 

Learning Area Newsletters / blogs

KS3 Newsletter September 2017

 

As I outlined last term, I have increased my role and taken on responsibility for key stage 3, as well as key stage 5. I use Twitter a lot as a platform for sharing ideas, and one suggestion was to write a termly newsletter to parents. So, as a parent and teacher who appreciates communication, here goes …

Year 7 students have been welcomed to Wyedean over the last few weeks. We are using this period to assess current abilities and with a combination of KS2 data, our classroom assessments, STAR reading tests and CAT data, we plan to set students in ability groups during the week beginning Monday 9th October. Please be assured that we will look closely at all data and make informed decisions about each child’s current needs. Placements in sets are reviewed each half term to ensure all students are best placed to make the most progress.

Thanks to our excellent librarian, Angela’s, organisation and enthusiasm Wyedean has participated in shadowing the Carnegie children’s book awards for some years and this is an excellent enrichment activity to which all students are welcome. This year, as teachers, we have been invited to judge the UKLA book awards. As part of our challenge, we are tasked with reading twenty books by March (age 12 – 16+) and we have some great titles to recommend already. The full list includes:

Optimists Die First

Susin Nielsen

Andersen Press

Encounters

Jason Wallace

Andersen Press

Goodbye Days

Jeff Zentner

Andersen Press

Mind The Gap

Phil Earle

Barrington Stoke

Passing for White

Tanya Landman

Barrington Stoke

We Come Apart

Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Bloomsbury

Lydia- the Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice

Natasha Farrant

Chicken House

The Island at the End of Everything

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Chicken House

The Hypnotist

Laurence Anholt

Corgi

Wolf Hollow

Lauren Wolk

Corgi

Kid Got Shot

Simon Mason

David Fickling Books

Orangeboy

Patrice Lawrence

Hodder

Out of Heart

Irfan Master

Hot Key Books

The Bone Sparrow

Zana Fraillon

Orion

Saint Death

Marcus Sedgwick

Orion

Black Light Express

Philip Reeve

OUP

Frogkisser!

Garth Nix

Piccadilly Press

Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord

Bessora

Barroux

Sarah Ardizzone

The Bucket List

Where the World Ends

Geraldine McCaughrean

Usborne

The Hate You Give

Angie Thomas

Walker Books

Some fantastic titles if you need any inspiration! Later in the year, we will be asking students to get involved and hope to be filmed for the UKLA website to promote literacy.

This also links to our extended reading homework as we are modelling good practice to our students. Director of Teaching and Learning, Julie Smith, shared the research behind the UKLA project: The research underpinning the UKLA Book Awards explains the rationale behind the concept. It suggests that although the majority of teachers do read for pleasure, their knowledge of children's authors is more limited (and limiting). Expanding teachers' repertoires of children's literature helps foster reading for pleasure; without secure subject knowledge, teachers are less able to employ a reading for pleasure pedagogy. Therefore, if we challenge ourselves and read outside our comfort zones, we hope our students will do the same!

Our creative writing magazine ‘The Wyedean Review’ goes from strength to strength. In the style of The Book Fairies, a charity which donates reading materials anonymously to promote literacy, we are going to distribute copies of our creative writing magazine across the community. Each half term, a teacher and key stage 3 class will take responsibility for content, production and distribution with the aim of sharing our writing with others. By the end of this term, year 7 students will have compiled a magazine which includes transcripts of their ‘live’ interviews on Open Evening for prospective new students. Our launch weekend will be in November, when we intend to drop the magazines into a range of public places in the locality from coffee shops to doctors’ surgeries. Please follow us on Twitter @WyedeanEnglish #whyreadwyewrite and look out for copies of ‘The Wyedean Review’ in the local community. Please use the hashtag to let us know what you think!

Latin, under the excellent leadership of Mrs Roberts, also goes from strength to strength. We have a programme of study for year 7 and 8 students who explore language and classical civilisation through literature. We are also taking part in the Ovid in the West Country Competition, also led by Mrs Roberts. Most exciting, some Year 9 students have started to attend an after school GCSE Latin class as a twilight enrichment opportunity. 

At the time of writing, we are excited to welcome Bristol based performance poet, Trevor Carter to Wyedean On Thursday 28th September. In a series of workshops, Trevor will help year 7 and 8 students to explore the theme of freedom in a variety of ways. Mr Rowe has also organised a slam jam poetry lesson, based on his own writing.

We are also looking forward to visiting the British Library to experience their Harry Potter exhibition on A History of Magic. Again, at the time of writing, 3 spaces are still available for year 8 students. More details about timing for year 7 and 8 students to follow.

I would be grateful if you would provide any feedback on this newsletter to: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk

KS5 Newsletter September 2017

 

English Learning Area

A-level results! We were incredibly proud of our students’ achievements over the summer, achieving an ALPs grading of 2. Our A-level results were the best ever and we were the highest performing department within the school. This, in light of examination reform and reduced coursework, made us feel especially delighted. Hard work does pay off! 

This term we always look forward to welcoming our new cohort of Year 12 students and our returning Year 13 students. 

Over the summer, those who attended Induction Week have been reading Jane Eyre and a range of novels from the lost below in preparation for coursework later in the academic year.  We are always pleased to meet familiar faces and welcome new students from other secondary schools.

Please see below the (Man Booker prize short-listed) coursework reading list:

 ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler

‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman

‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters

‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel

‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel

‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

‘Mr Pip’ by Lloyd Jones

‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller

‘The Sisters’ Brothers’ by Patrick DeWitt

‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme McCrae Burnett 

We expect students to read at least 3 of the prescribed texts, plus ‘Jane Eyre’ in preparation for their 2500 – 3500 comparative coursework essay.

It is also important that students equip themselves with copies of their core texts:

Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Meantime’

Philip Larkin’s ‘Whitsun Weddings’.

Students are also expected to have their English folders every lesson, including ordered notes and resources; pieces of assessed work; assessment grids and other administrative paperwork. Folder checks are completed every month to ensure all students form positive organisational habits.

We have also used the recent assessment weeks for both Years 12 and 13 to inform current attainment and identify ways in which we can ensure all students progress to the best of their abilities.

On Wednesday 27th September, a group of trainee teachers from the University of the West of England joined us for an A-level immersion day. As a centre of excellence with outstanding results in A-level English Literature, we were asked to host the trainees in preparation for their first school-based experiences. They found the day rewarding and enriching.

Please get in touch should you have any questions: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk

Please follow us on Twitter @WyedeanEnglish for regular posts on what we love!

 

KS3 Newsletter May 2017

As we tentatively begin to dip our toes in to the summer term, I thought it may be useful to introduce myself in my new role and provide an overview of some key priorities and exciting developments this term.

I have recently increased my responsibilities and taken on responsibility for key stage 3, as well as key stage 5. I use Twitter a lot as a platform for sharing ideas, and one suggestion was to write a termly newsletter to parents. So, as a parent and teacher who appreciates communication, here goes …

Year 7 students are now established at Wyedean and we look forward to using their recent experiences to share with our new students who will be arriving at the end of June on taster days. Sessions are arranged for year 5 and 6 prospective students, and we hope that by employing year 7 ambassadors, we can make the transition process even smoother.

Wyedean has participated in shadowing the Carnegie children’s book awards for some years and this is an excellent enrichment activity to which all students are welcome. As a compliment to accelerated reader, please encourage students to attend meetings on Thursday lunchtimes with Angela in the library. Alternatively if you’re stuck for reading suggestions, these novels may provide a useful starting point for encouraging something different. Reviews can be posted online: see Angela for details. The list of this year’s nominations can be found at via the following link:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

Please note: ‘Beck’ by Mal Peet is categorised for older readers only and we are advising for KS4 rather than KS3.

Angela will also be running the ever popular trip to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival and has a great line-up of speakers planned. Look out for letters coming soon. Places, as always, will be on a first come, first served basis.

Another exciting development is the launch of our creative writing magazine in the local community. In the style of The Book Fairies, a charity which donates reading materials anonymously to promote literacy, we are going to distribute copies of our creative writing magazine across the community. Each half term, a teacher and key stage 3 class will take responsibility for content, production and distribution with the aim of sharing our writing with others. This term, my year 8 English class have worked feverishly on creative character writing inspired by Dickens; our launch weekend is Saturday 13th May when we intend to drop the magazines into a range of public places in the locality from coffee shops to doctors’ surgeries. Please follow us on Twitter @WyedeanEnglish #whyreadwyewrite and look out for copies of ‘The Wyedean Review’ in the local community. Please use the hashtag to let us know what you think!

The Public Speaking group goes from strength to strength and meets weekly with Mrs Bartlett and Miss Dawson. Having celebrated success with Rotary club competitions in the past, this is something we wish to extend so if you’re interested in debating topical issues, please come along to G6 on Wednesdays.

Latin, under the excellent leadership of Mrs Roberts, also goes from strength to strength. We have a programme of study for year 7 and 8 students who explore language and classical civilisation through literature. Planning provision for year 9 is a key target for September.

We have also been pleased to introduce a year 8 enrichment group which has met fortnightly and explored the issue of identify through past A-level texts. I would like to thank Miss Wotton, our trainee teacher from the University of the West of England for her input and again, look forward to rolling out further intervention and acceleration programmes across the key stage.

We look forward to meeting year 8 parents again on Thursday 8th June. And for all of our new starters, should you have missed parents’ evenings or reports, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries or concerns.

It is also important to emphasise that this year we will be having end of year assessments for all year groups in key stage 3. This is particularly important as we move towards linear assessments at GCSE. These will not take place until after the May half term and further information will be shared by class teachers on what the students should expect and how best to prepare for these summative assessments.

To finish, I would like to share one of my happiest moments in role so far: this was to share in one of Mrs Smith’s year 7, set 3 student’s successes at analytical writing, an extract from which is printed below. To me, this epitomised our ethos in providing challenging materials and setting the highest of expectations to encourage all students to succeed.

I would be grateful if you would provide any feedback on this newsletter to: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk.

Mrs J Smith’s Year 7y3 class have been studying narrative writing. As part of this unit of work, we have read and analysed the nineteeth century short story ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’. Using Lemov’s close reading techniques, the class have produced an impressive standard of literary analysis: Nicole Dash’s work below is an excellent example of the type of work produced.

 How does Edger Allan Poe create suspense and tension

In this part of the story?

  This story explores the idea that Poe creates suspense and tension by explaining how the protagonist is feeling. He also creates tension through the phrase “ere it swept so closely over me as to fan me with its acrid breath”. The most important idea here is that the protagonist is feeling scared through the words “acrid breath”. He uses the words to infer that the blade is close to hitting him. Poe is explaining that the protagonist is in danger.

  

KS5 Newsletter May 2017

As we tentatively begin to dip our toes in to the summer term, I thought it may be useful to introduce myself in my new role and provide an overview of some key priorities and exciting developments this term.

I have recently increased my responsibilities and taken on responsibility for key stage 3, as well as key stage 5. I use Twitter a lot as a platform for sharing ideas, and one suggestion was to write a termly newsletter to parents. So, here goes …

Year 13 students have all recently submitted final drafts of coursework and completed a second series of mock exams. These full mocks will be used by classroom teachers to provide personalised feedback to allow students to secure the highest grades possible.  We are always looking to exceed target grades, so revision sessions have been planned carefully based on mock results. Mrs Smith will be running weekly session based on the poetry components and I will be running key sessions for the drama components. Specific details can be found via our very active Facebook group page.  We also use this page regularly and update Moodle and SMHW with key articles and resources to help students prepare as the final exams approach.

Year 12 have a second set of mock exams starting on the 19th June, which will allow us to ascertain progress made since January.  We are busy encouraging year 12s to read a range of texts in preparation for the coursework component. Here, students pair ‘Jane Eyre’ with a post 2000 novel (Man Booker prize short-listed) from those listed below:

‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler

‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman

‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters

‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel

‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel

‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

‘Mr Pip’ by Lloyd Jones

‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller

‘The Sisters’ Brothers’ by Patrick DeWitt

We are considering adding ‘His Bloody Project’ by, so let us know what your thoughts! We expect students to have chosen their partner text and created a plan on return after the May half term.  More details to follow from class teachers.

Many thanks to Miss Dawson for organising the stimulating trip to see one of our set texts, ‘Enron’ in Bath recently. Also thanks to Mia Gordon representing Hereford College of Performing Arts and Worcester University for her delivery of sometimes challenging workshops on ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Enron’. As a senior A-level examiner, I know how helpful it is to explore dramatic texts in performance.  With that in mind, there is the possibility of a trip to The Barbican Theatre in London to see ‘the Tempest’ prior to study next term. Year 12 students should let me know if they are interested as soon as possible.

I would be grateful if you would provide any feedback on this newsletter to: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk